On 8th October 2019 Lord Foster of Bath (LD) moved a motion “that this House takes note of the Report from the Select Committee on the Rural Economy Time for a strategy for the rural economy (HL Paper 330)”. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, contributed to the debate:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, you may well ask what the Bishop of London is doing adding her voice to a debate on our strategy for the rural economy. Despite having spent most of my adult life in London, my five years in the West Country and latterly as the Bishop of Crediton in Devon demonstrated to me the challenges of rural life.
On 8th October 2019 Lord Naseby (Con) asked the Government “what action they are taking to ensure that retailers selling kitchen knives adhere to regulations on the sale of knives”. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, then asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, as the Bishop of London, knife crime is of huge concern to me and a source of great sorrow. I thank the noble Baroness for her response regarding the “No Points” campaign. However, research undertaken by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch showed that round knives had significantly less penetration capability than pointed knives and are therefore less likely to be life-threatening. Will the noble Baroness comment on how the Government are responding to the advice given by the Scientific Development Branch?
On 7th October 2019 the Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a question she had tabled to Government on modern slavery.
The Lord Bishop of London: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to facilitate the enactment of the Modern Slavery (Victim Support) Bill within the next 12 months.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con): My Lords, the Government have given serious consideration to the issues raised in the Bill from the noble Lord, Lord McColl, and to how to ensure that victims have the support they need to begin rebuilding their lives. However, the Government do not believe victims should be given an automatic grant of leave. Consideration of whether an individual is a victim of modern slavery and any decisions regarding their immigration status are, and must remain, separate.
The Lord Bishop of London: I thank the Minister for her reply. Churches across the UK are providing some exceptional support to victims of modern-day slavery, such as Tamar at All Souls Church here in Westminster. On a recent visit to Tamar I was struck by how essential it was that victims were provided with assistance, healthcare, housing and mental health support. Can the Minister comment on what progress is being made to cost and evaluate provision so that victims can not only receive adequate care but recover in the best way possible?
On 4th September 2019 the House of Lords considered a motion from the Leader of the Opposition to suspend the usual procedures for the taking of a Bill, in order to enable the House to take all stages of the European Union (Withdrawal) (Number 6) Bill 2017-19 on Thursday and Friday of that week.
A series of amendments were tabled to that motion by those objecting to that procedural change and those who disagreed with the Bill, which had been passed by MPs that day and would require Government to seek an extension of the Article 50 period for the UK to leave the EU.
A series of votes took place throughout the day and late into the night on the amendments tabled and also to bring an end to speeches by Members that were considered attempts to filibuster. A number of bishops took part in those votes, largely on the side of those Peers wishing to see the procedural changes made, and to ensure business could progress.
On 2nd July 2019 Baroness McIntosh of Pickering asked the Government “what measures they propose to take to ensure that there is adequate provision of GP services in rural areas”. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of London: My Lords, I speak as a co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Rural Health and Social Care. Living now in a city, I know the challenge of rural health provision, but GP services are not just about doctors. They are also about nurses and community workers. Can the Minister comment on the possibility of developing direct access training for district nurses and health visitors?
On 24th June 2019 Baroness Campbell of Surbiton asked the Government “what crisis prevention measures are in place to address the difficulties of those working-age disabled adults who have lost the support needed to live independently in the community”. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, asked a follow-up question:
Bishop of London: My Lords, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has recently stated that the UK was going backwards in terms of independent living and went on to say that it was a human catastrophe. In the Minister’s view, are we are doing enough to involve disabled people in producing, designing and providing better solutions for independent living?